So having gained a reputation as the toilet guy (e.g. Slate, RedOrbit, microBEnet) I felt like I just had to write about this article. Plus it sounds really cool. This article is by Jennifer Fouquier (also cool) who is in Scott Kelly’s lab at
UC San Diego San Diego State. The title “Rapid assemblage of diverse environmental fungal communities on public restroom floors” sounds really intriguing. Sadly the article is not open-access ($38 for the PDF!) which is distinctly not cool. I had planned to overlook this and blog about the article anyway but I can’t even access it through the VPN at my University.
So instead of actually reading the article I’m just venting about paywalls and posting the abstract. Let me know if the article is worth tracking down.
An increasing proportion of humanity lives in urban environments where they spend most of their lives indoors. Recent molecular studies have shown that bacterial assemblages in built environments (BEs) are extremely diverse, but BE fungal diversity remains poorly understood. We applied culture-independent methods based on next-generation sequencing (NGS) of the fungal internal transcribed spacer to investigate the diversity and temporal dynamics of fungi in restrooms. Swab samples were collected weekly from three different surfaces in two public restrooms (male and female) in San Diego, CA, USA, over an 8-week period. DNA amplification and culturing methods both found that the floor samples had significantly higher fungal loads than other surfaces. NGS sequencing of floor fungal assemblages identified a total of 2550 unique phylotypes (~800 per sample), less than half of which were identifiable. Of the known fungi, the majority came from environmental sources and we found little evidence of known human skin fungi. Fungal assemblages reformed rapidly in a highly consistent manner, and the variance in the species diversity among samples was low. Overall, our study contributes to a better understanding of public restroom floor fungal communities.